About

“A new language is going to be a language of icons, it’s going to be graphics.” Timothy Leary

This is a system of ideograms for English.  I call them “neoideograms” or “ids” for short.

I have a “dictionary” that covers about 6 thousand words.   For many of the words I use ideograms for Latin and Greek roots, so there are far fewer than 6 thousand separate ideogams.

I have transcribed quite a bit of English prose into them and use them for my diary and for notes.

I draw from everyday observed images,  conventions, my imagination, and minorly from hieroglyphics, Chinese characters, symbolic logic, and the computer world. I have tried to make them simple and efficient, such that the more frequently used the word, the simpler the id. In the interest of efficiency I have even “cheated,” using something that looks like an F for “for” and “force,” something that looks like an E for energy, a T and an F for true and false, etc.  I have also tried to make them expressive: I want them to feel like what they are, so I don’t mind them being cartoonish. Sometimes I fail at this and resort to a cold “analyd”–an id comprised of analytic elements that tell a little story or just give a few elements to represent the many meanings of a word.    Many are  “mixids” that have both direct and etymological aspects, and some are “sonids” with a “sounds like” element.

They are art.  I’d love to see others’ improvements and original creations!

They are open-ended and incomplete.  Each word and idea presents a puzzle to be solved — how to depict it graphically.  I feel that I have come up with many good solutions, but have often been stumped. Some ids I’ve been dissatisfied with for years before finally hitting on something I like.

They sometimes transcend ordinary language:  I’ll make an id, perhaps the “graphic opposite” of another one, and think, “oh, we don’t have a word for that.”

Sometimes I  use regular letters to show the endings of words just as hiragana is used along with kanji in Japanese.

They add a rich creative new dimension to my life and mind.  Making new ids for ideas improves my grasp of the ideas and my ability to work with them.  I tend to think more in terms of clear diagrams.

They are a means of becoming more creatively conscious of language and of  graphically redefining  words and ideas.

13 Responses to About

  1. Dear Ernie,
    friendly evening greetings to you from
    Heike

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  2. Timothy Pike says:

    This is fascinating!

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  3. PlayfulGB says:

    Hey! Awesome ideograms! how do you remember all the symbols? do you study them?

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    • ErnieM says:

      Thanks. Because they are images, they kind of remember themselves. I often accurately remember ids I haven’t used for years for seldom used words. The act of creating an id for a word makes the word more meaningful and the id becomes part of the word. See my recent post on “lull”. On the other hand, some word/concepts are difficult to make ids for (“understand” was a tough one!). I might have tried 20-30 different ids for a word, never being quite satisfied. If I’m lucky, I finally find one that “clicks” but often I’ll come up with an improvement and have some trouble remembering it because I tried so many and I used a different one for so long. I make different ifs for different senses of words–it’s necessary when you make things graphic. See my post on the senses of “get”. I “study” them mainly by writing or transcribing a page in my diary most every day–about 1100 words. I use them for notes when I read. They are with me all of the time, coming to mind automatically–I often think in terms of them.

      I suppose someone unfamiliar with what I’ve done might think it’s just a bunch of random meaningless material to remember. Quite the opposite. A lot of it is pictorial. Most of it just makes sense–is logical or makes artistic or metaphorical sense. So they’re easy to remember on that account. I also try to give ids for concepts with similar meanings the same id parts, for instance, most ids having to do with danger or safety have my metaphor for danger–a cliff. All of the etymids–ids that illustrate the Latin and Greek roots, are easy, and that is over 90% of words of 2 or more syllables, though I try to transcend etymids with directids if it seems worth the trouble and especially if the etymid doesn’t make good sense, as for the word “interesting” from Latin “inter” between and “esse” to be.

      And then, too, these things are “my babies”–I have created them to my own liking, so they are easy for me to remember on that account. Related to that–some of them I just love–I think they’re great— and that helps.

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      • PlayfulGB says:

        Thank you alot, and I am wondering… Do you write your ideograms on a notebook?

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      • ErnieM says:

        Yes, I do. This strikes me as a strange question. I mean, of what significance is it? I’m wondering what is your native language is. Ordinarily, people would say “in a notebook”.

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      • PlayfulGB says:

        Sorry for all the questions. But how did you make your ideogram dictionary?

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      • ErnieM says:

        I like questions; ask as many as you please. How did I make my dictionary? Bit by bit, from scratch starting with note cards and then working with notebooks, putting in thousands of hrs. It’s an accumulation of thousands of bits of creativity.

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      • PlayfulGB says:

        Nono 😅 sorry we misunderstood… I meant cause I saw you YouTube video called.. “ideogram idintro1.mp4”. And you had a dictionary of you ids. And then you filled it up with you ids. Where did you get that empty dictionary?
        Thank you

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      • ErnieM says:

        I printed the word list using my computer and printer. I drew in the ideograms. I took this to the printer and had it copied and bound at a cost of about $10 per copy.

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